by Aleata Harty-Blank
The lights may be out, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t bringing the spark!
Kimberley’s Spark Youth Center was one of the Kimberley and District Community Foundation Fall Grant recipients, and we had a chance to catch up with them and find out what they are up to during these unusual times.
The Spark Youth Center, which is British Columbia’s longest running youth center, provides a safe space for youth ages 8-18 to connect with positive role models, enjoy nutritious snacks and meals, and connect socially in a welcoming environment. Going into it’s 27th year of operation, the center relies on City of Kimberley, BC Gaming, and United Way support along with many grants. All of the center’s grant funding, no matter the amount, assists in keeping the doors open, and providing resources to operate in a healthy manner, while keeping the centre clean, comfortable, and presentable.
This year the Kimberley and District Community Foundation granted the Spark Youth Center funds to install a rainbow fan light in the drop-in center, which provides air movement for the wood heat and cool air in the warmer season. They are also planning to install security cameras for outside the centre.
Unfortunately, as like most things right now, the Spark Youth Center is currently closed. It was unable to open following Spring Break due to Covid-19, but this hasn’t stopped the youth center from continuing to support youth in a unique way. The Spark Center Youth Center is coordinating, sponsoring and leading Birthday Party Parades. You may have seen the convoys around town, and if you follow their Facebook page, Spark’s Kimberley Birthday Parades, you’ll see a number of comments and videos with kids saying this was their best birthday ever! That’s the kind of spark we all need in our lives right now.
The Spark Youth Society plans to draw for a Dairy Queen birthday cake monthly for one lucky birthday celebrate and a gas card draw monthly for the volunteers who are making the nightly convoy parades possible. They provide decorations for vehicles, maps, and leadership. When the organizers get word that they can reopen, they plan to draw for a free Birthday Party at the Spark Youth Centre for one lucky youth that participated in the birthday parades which will include Spark Youth games and face painters.
In times like these, every business, every family, every human has had to get creative in the way we approach life and the Spark Youth Center has been innovative in continuing to support Kimberley youth. The Kimberley and District Community Foundation is proud to support community groups who make Kimberley and surroundings such a good place to be, and the Spark Youth Center is one of those places!